4/16/2013

GOOD BYE MR & MRS POT BELLY

This is a follow up to my previous article “Meet Mr & Mrs Pot Belly”. In this article, I would be sharing some exercise tips to help you get rid of your excess tummy fat. Before I do, let me quickly share a personal story. Before my fitness career begun, my Aunt used to make fun of me because of my tummy. When I lay on my side, my tummy would sit on the bed and she would scream “chei! Your tummy is lying down with you”. She just could not understand how one’s tummy could be that big. Of course she had a flat tummy so she could laugh comfortably. 

Ever since I incorporated zumba fitness into my weekly activity and some of the following tips and exercises which I am about to share with you, my story has been different. In fact I am very surprised and sometimes feel my clients are mocking me when they say “Fabila you don’t have a problem, your tummy is flat”. Truth is I have made progress and I believe you can as well. 
  • Cardiovascular exercise: I have talked elaborately on cardiovascular exercise in my “Choosing a Fitness Programme” series. You can do all the sit-ups you want in order to build strong abdominal muscles, but unless you burn the fat away, you'll always have that pot belly. Cardiovascular exercise is a fast way to burn calories and can be done by a variety of different exercise options. Find one that is fun for you so working out won't be a chore. 
  • Beer and other alcoholic drinks promotes development of a pot belly, if you are looking to get rid of that pot belly then you may want to limit or stop your intake of beer and other alcoholic drinks. 
  • You probably have heard this, or maybe not, that proper posture helps in achieving a flat tummy. If you’ve never considered developing good posture, maybe it’s time you did. Stand erect, walk tall, sit straight and avoid slouching. Slouching can make your belly look bigger than it really is. 
  • You also must have heard this number of times. Eating late at nights is not the best practice if you are looking to fight tummy fat. You should eat dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed, and avoid eating excessively. That eba and okro soup with goat meat can wait till the next day. 
  • I think you are probably tired of hearing me say this but I’ll say it anyway, strength training should be added to your workout routine. As you lose weight around the belly area, you will want to tone and tighten the muscles of the abdomen. 
Great exercises for the Belly include sit ups, crunches, knee lifts, pelvic lifts, squats and lunges. I’ll briefly expound on crunches and pelvic lifts 

Abdominal crunches 

Abdominal crunches together with proper eating habits can really tone the abdominals. Strong stomach muscles can help in preventing back-related problems and in improving posture. An abdominal crunch can be performed while standing or lying on the floor. 
Exercise: To perform an abdominal crunch on the floor, start by lying flat on the floor. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle with your feet planted flat on the floor. Cross your arms in front of your chest and place your hands on your chest. Slowly lift your shoulders off the ground and move so that your elbows reach toward your knees. Hold that position for two to three seconds and slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Repeat this move 15 to 30 times in one set. Do two to three sets within a workout. 

Pelvic Lifts 

Pelvic lifts are like a reverse crunch. A reverse crunch targets the lower muscles of the stomach area. These muscles aid in breathing and control the way the spine bends. 
Exercise: Start by lying flat on the floor. Lift your legs into the air and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Place your arms flat on the floor at your sides. Using your abs muscles, lift your buttocks into the air and pull your knees toward your chest. Hold the muscle contraction for 10 seconds. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Repeat this 10 to 20 times within a set. Do two sets in a workout.
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